Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Nine Inch Nails at the Echoplex
Do you remember when they allowed smoking inside shows? I would have a few pairs of designated concert clothes that were subjected to insane amounts of smoke and sweat. The heat levels at some of these shows were suffocating.
My brain was heat stroked enough during this show to trigger warm memories of going to Nine Inch Nails at the Warfield in San Francisco in 1994. The heat at the Echoplex for Nine Inch Nails eclipsed those smoking days to become the hottest show of the year.
HEALTH was sold out of their new album Get Color by the time I made it to merchandise booth. In a legion of extremely dedicated Nine Inch Nails fans, this speaks volumes. HEALTH is not for the weak .
HEALTH captured my attention when I saw them open for Autolux in April of 2007. They sonically sculpt tattered sheets of noise and screams into crushing tribal rhythms. The untrained listener might think its all noise but I appreciate the art in creating their alien sounds let alone weaving it into the form of a song.
My interest in purchasing their new album was twofold. First, I wanted to be able to identify some of the new songs that were played. Second, I was interested in the Golden ticket sweepstakes that potentially involved going to Magic Mountain for a day with the band. I have another chance as I will be seeing them again at the Henry Fonda and the Troubadour.
Nine Inch Nails
I felt extremely fortunate to attend this show. I was watching one of my favorite bands in a small venue in the midst of their final performances. What more could you really ask for... besides air conditioning?
Questions of Trent Reznor's health were immediately squashed as he came storming out of the gates with a vicious version of "Somewhat Damaged". I originally thought it would be so packed that people couldn't move, but I saw a mass of humanity swirl right in front of my eyes as I took shots safely behind the soundboard.
"March of The Pigs" still sounds just a fresh and as fierce compared to the first time I heard it in 1994. The crowd went absolutely bonkers as the strobe lights blinded me in combination with the mercury rising.
The setlist is deliberately drafted and Trent took it down a notch during "Something I Can Never Have". I have to give credit to the audience for remaining respectively silent during the quiet interludes.
"Terrible Lie", "Ruiner", "Head Down", "Burn" and "Gave Up" was the favorite snapshot of the set with Robin Finck churning out the metallic power chords. The number of people being pulled out from the pit during those songs was extremely high.
Nine Inch Nails took another short breather with "La Mer", "Non-Entity" and "Gone, Still" but would roar back with devastating versions of "The Big Come Down" and "The Way Out Is Through". "Wish" was Ilan Rubin's highlight of the night as he fiercely pounded away at his bass drum in the finale that would easily be on par with Josh Freese.
"Down In It" was a nice treat from the classic album Pretty Hate Machine but I was excited when Gary Numan took the stage for their muscular take on "Metal". Just when you thought they were going to do "Cars", they switched it up for "I Die, You Die". Gary Numan sounds flawless live and I will see him if he comes back for a tour of the States without a doubt.
The tease of the night came when Trent tried the opening chords of Joy Division's "Atmosphere" which would have been amazing to hear but was quickly scraped for "Dead Souls". One could hear a pin drop during "Hurt" which made the performance ten times more powerful. It was a bummer that someone bought 20 of the special "Echoplex" designated t-shirts but no one put on ebay the memory of attending this show. It was that special.
Nine Inch Nails setlist at the Echoplex (9/7/09)
"The Beginning Of The End"
"March Of The Pigs"
"Something I Can Never Have"
"The Big Come Down"
"The Way Out Is Through"
"Down In It"
"Metal" (W/Gary Numan)
"I Die, You Die" (W/Gary Numan)
"The Hand That Feeds"
"Head Like A Hole"